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to the gutter rather than by having a 6 or 8 foot grass plat between the gutter and the sidewalk, as may be justified under different circumstances.


On many sites the grading of house lots is so expensive that some houses must be built on sloping lots. Every economical method of relieving the unsightliness of these hillside houses should be employed. As has been pointed out contour streets improve conditions somewhat because the ground line on the exposed side of the house is level. Excessively steep lots should not be used, as the cost of foundations, steps, and building is too great and the house is not satisfactory to live in. With the idea of utilizing such lots, one company attempted to develop a cheap five-room house in which the front and the back contained a different number of stories; on the high side of the street the house had three stories in front and two in the back; whereas on the low side the arrangement was reversed. The construction of these houses proved very expensive and was discontinued.

The houses on the low side of the street should be brought up to the level of the street grade, if possible. This can be done by shifting the retaining wall, which is so often placed on the property line, back to the house line. Houses on steep lots should be shallow, as this greatly reduces the appearance of the inequality in height between the front and back of the house. Two-story houses on the low side of the street will equalize appearances (see fig. 3). The appearance of the houses on the high side of the street may be improved by placing the veranda on the side rather than on the front, thereby reducing the depth of the building, or by changing the direction of approach of the front steps. Figure 4 shows a suggested arrangement of houses and lots.



The material from which the houses are built depends largely on local conditions. The availability of the material, whether it be lumber, brick, stone, or cement, is important because of its bearing on cost. The estimated life of the town determines how much stress should be laid on the durability of the building material. Climatic conditions may determine the selection of a cold-resistant or heatresistant material and the form of construction to be used. The prevalence of high winds, earthquakes, rain, and atmospheric humidity must be considered. The spacing of the houses, one from the other, the cost of fire protection, the fire hazard, and the insurance rates influence the choice of building material.

50606°-Bull. 87-14-2

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FIGURE 3.-Right and wrong methods of arranging hillside houses.

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Upper view shows correct arrangement, with one-story house on high side of street.

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FIGURE 4.-Suggested arrangement for houses and lots: Picket fence in front, rail or wire fence along sides and in rear, footwalks along side of house, houses not directly oppo

site one another.


Various types of masonry houses are being erected at towns connected with mining and metallurgical industries. Under special circumstances brick and stone (generally sandstone found on site and easily quarried) houses have been erected for the use of miners. Recently some attractive homes have been made from poured concrete (Pl. II). These are very durable, fireproof, and, to a large extent, vermin proof.

Unless some precautions are taken houses built with solid masonry walls will be damp and moisture will condense on the inside. Brick walls are generally built with an air space in the interior to prevent this. Sometimes an insulating medium is placed back of the plaster. Forms for making concrete blocks or artificial stone are usually made so that there will be an air space in the stone. Special machines are on the market whereby a hollow concrete wall may be poured. Hollow tiles are now also being used for finished exterior walls. These have been used for some time on interior nonloadbearing walls.

The idea in all of these types is to establish an insulated air space (similar to a thermos bottle) between the outside and inside wall surfaces, so as to prevent dampness and make the rooms warmer in winter and cooler in summer.


Generally, the frame house is best adapted to mining villages. More variety of design can be attained in a frame house, and it lends itself to more economical decorative features, although, of course, health and comfort are to take precedence over beauty. Another desirable feature of the frame house is the ease with which it can be enlarged. In designing small houses possibilities for future extension should be provided; many a miner becomes strongly attached to his house or some feature of the local environment, and if his house can be enlarged to meet new demands he is often more contented. As regards color, the variety that may be attained by different combinations of colors in the painting, and the need of periodic painting with its cleansing and renovating effects may be regarded as an advantage of the frame house.


In building on a lot it is desirable to have plans of a variety of houses available in order that the house may be best adapted to the lot on which it is placed. Variety of design not only has a utilitarian purpose, but improves the appearance of the entire town. There is also an economic reason which pleads strongly for

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